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Former Gold Glover Panik designated by Giants

@mi_guardado
August 6, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' activity at the Trade Deadline didn't bode well for Joe Panik's future here. As part of a flurry of moves, the Giants acquired two second basemen, a rental in Scooter Gennett and a potential long-term piece in Mauricio Dubon. It wasn't hard to read between

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' activity at the Trade Deadline didn't bode well for Joe Panik's future here.

As part of a flurry of moves, the Giants acquired two second basemen, a rental in Scooter Gennett and a potential long-term piece in Mauricio Dubon. It wasn't hard to read between the lines and see what likely loomed ahead for Panik, who was designated for assignment Tuesday after six seasons with San Francisco.

While not unexpected, the move still proved to be a difficult one for the Giants, who drafted Panik in the first round of the 2011 Draft out of St. John's University and watched him develop into a World Series champion in 2014 as well as an All-Star and Gold Glove winner.

"It's one of my more difficult conversations I've had in my career," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's always tough when you see one of your guys go. Joe was drafted by the Giants. He's a Giant. He's done so many good things for us, helped us win championships here. I think he's ready to look for a new opportunity and a chance to restart his career."

Panik, 28, batted .305 as a rookie in 2014 and emerged as a key contributor in the Giants' run to their third World Series title in five years. He delivered a signature moment in Game 7 after making an incredible diving stop and glove flip to start a crucial double play against the Royals.

But injuries derailed his 2018 campaign, and he struggled to provide consistent production this year, hitting .235 with a .317 slugging percentage in 103 games. His .317 slugging percentage is the lowest among 146 qualified hitters this season.

The Giants saw an opportunity to upgrade at second base at the Trade Deadline and took it by acquiring Gennett, who is expected to draw the majority of the starts there moving forward.

"He's a great dude," Gennett said before his Oracle Park debut Monday. "I got a chance to meet him before coming over here. It's tough. I haven't had the best year since I've been back. I know he would've liked for things to have gone better. We're kind of in the same boat trying to figure things out, trying to improve our game, going back to doing what we're capable of doing."

After adding Gennett, the Giants had limited at-bats for Panik, who had also lost playing time to Donovan Solano, a right-handed bat who can also play shortstop and third base. Since Panik has accrued more than five years of service time in the Majors, he could not be optioned without his consent.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

If Panik clears waivers, he'll have the right to decline an outright assignment to Triple-A Sacramento and become a free agent, officially ending his tenure with the Giants.

"His role had changed here," Bochy said. "He'll be playing somewhere. I'll always be pulling for Joe. I can't thank him enough for all he did here for us, helping us have our success. It's never easy when you see a guy that you've been with a long time. I know he was very popular in the clubhouse. I know Joe is looking forward to his next chapter."

Bochy admitted that he became emotional while informing Panik of the club's decision following Monday night's game.

"He was nothing but class," Bochy said. "Joe was great. I'd be lying if I said we both didn't get a little emotional. It's going to happen because of our time together. I think he's ready to see what's on the other side right now."

In a corresponding move, the Giants called up left-hander Conner Menez, who started against the Nationals on Tuesday. They also activated Williams Jerez and optioned Sam Selman to Triple-A Sacramento.

Injury updates

• Johnny Cueto is expected to throw 30 pitches in his second rehab start with the Arizona League Giants on Friday. The 33-year-old veteran remains on track to return from Tommy John surgery in September.

• X-rays came back negative on outfield prospect Heliot Ramos, who departed Class A Advanced San Jose's game Monday night after being struck on the left hand by a pitch. Ramos is considered day to day.

Players' Weekend nicknames announced

The Giants on Tuesday revealed the nicknames players will wear on the back of their jerseys during Players' Weekend, which will take place on Aug. 24-25 against the A's. Notable monikers include "Grandpa" for Alex Dickerson, "Bob" for Brandon Belt, "DJ BC Raw" for Brandon Crawford and "Hum Buss" for Buster Posey. Gennett, who already goes by a nickname, went with his given name, Ryan.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.